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Kevin Walzer, software developer.



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Wed, 23 Jan 2008

TkDocs

Tcl developer Mark Roseman has put together TkDocs, a website that aims to serve as a resource for developing GUI's in Tk. It's not just a tutorial site, however--its goal is to be a complete resource, with discussions of Tk widgets, lots of screenshots, and (still in progress) screenshots of state-of-the-art Tk GUI's. When the site is complete, it should be an excellent starting point for anyone developing graphical interfaces with Tk.

Hey, Mark--feel free to poke around here if you need some material for the "gallery" section...

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New releases coming soon

I've been doing a great deal of work updating each of my programs--PortAuthority, Phynchronicity, and PacketStream. The focus of these releases is Leopard compatability, updating the GUI base of my applications to Tk 8.5, and various refinements and improvements.

Making my applications Leopard-compatible means, among other things, changing their icons yet again. Apple has added a new 512-pixel application size for Leopard, which is much bigger than those supported by previous verisons of OS X. (Think 128 pixels.) Last year I purchased commercial icon sets from two vendors (WackyPixel and IcoZon), to use as my application and toolbar icons. These icons, however, weren't available at 512 pixels. As a result, I've switched to two excellent open-source libraries, Oxygen and Crystal, both of which are part of the KDE project. These icon sets blend in very well with OS X and can also scale up to 512 pixels.

Another part of Leopard compatibility is improved stability, courtesy of Tcl/Tk 8.5. Tk, my GUI toolkit of choice, recently hit a landmark release, as the new version is the biggest improvement in several years--it offers greatly improved integration with OS X. The older version of Tcl/Tk that I used (8.4.16) was also crash-prone on Leopard; 8.5 fixes several bugs in that respect, and my programs should run without a hitch now.

I've also added some new Tcl/Tk packages such as the TclMacBag library, which supports some custom Mac-style widgets that are not part of the core Tk library. This package has also helped me improve the look and feel of my programs in some respects.

Importantly, I am trying to maintain backward compatability in all of my programs: all have been tested on Tiger (OS X 10.4) and seem to run fine. Not everyone upgrades to the latest OS right away, and I want to support those customers still on Tiger.

I'm very pleased with the improvements I've made, and I hope you will agree once the programs are available. Look for them soon.

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